Microsoft is aggressively taking on Google again. The latest series of attacks are aimed at Google’s email service, Gmail, and the series of Scroogled advertisements are urging users to switch from Gmail to Microsoft’s mail, Outlook.com.
Microsoft goes on to say “Outlook.com is different – we don’t go through your email to sell ads”. This is not the first Microsoft has gone after Google in this fashion. Last year, Microsoft had released a series of print advertisements in leading newspapers in the United States, targeting Gmail on the same privacy issues.
The attack is fairly blunt and pointed this time around. On the initiative website, Microsoft minces no words as it compares its Outlook.com mail service to Google’s Gmail. The position stated is, “Outlook.com prioritizes your privacy. The email service doesn’t look at the content of your email to sell ads. Outlook.com only scans the contents of your email to help protect you and display, categorize, and sort your mail appropriately. Just like the postal service sorts and scans mail and packages for dangerous explosives and biohazards, Outlook.com scans your mail to help prevent spam, gray mail, phishing scams, viruses, malware, and other dangers and annoyances. Microsoft and its email services, including Outlook.com, Hotmail, and Office 365, do not use the content of customers’ private emails, communications, or documents to target advertising.
Here are some examples of things Outlook.com does not do, but Gmail does:
- Go through the contents of your sent and received email messages to display targeted ads
- Go through the contents of your incoming email from other email services for the purpose of targeting ads
- Go through the contents of your entire inbox for the purpose of targeting ads
Microsoft even pulled out some rather telling quote by a senior Google executive. “What Gmail has always done, from the very beginning, was to take the same systems that scan an email in order to identify, for example, whether it’s spam and should go in the spam folder and the user shouldn’t be bothered with it, to have those very same systems trigger off of keywords to show an ad that might be relevant.” —Google Privacy Lead Dr. Alma Whitten in a Congressional Privacy Hearings.
According to statistics shared by Microsoft, from a study by the Mozaic Group, over 70% users are unaware that their email’s content is used to display adverts in your inbox. Equally, 89% of users believe email should be private, and 87%, when told, believe this is an invasion of privacy.
Will you switch to Outlook.com? Microsoft certainly hopes that you do!